Profile: Tom Borgas

Sculptor Tom Borgas is having an Instagram moment as he gears up for his exhibition Postdigital Fragments at Hill Smith Gallery.

Sculptor Tom Borgas is having an Instagram moment as he gears up for his exhibition Postdigital Fragments at Hill Smith Gallery. In the same way that Instagram frames the things we do, the exhibition will, in a sense, frame Borgas’ work. “To me it feels a bit like it’s my Instagram in real life,” he explains. It’s been a busy year for Borgas. His work 200 white cubes (striped) featured in a FELTspace exhibition earlier this year. He created 100 brightly coloured boxes and scattered them amongst the rocks on the banks of the Port River for FELTmaps and he also occupied the project space at the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia with his work Riparian Artefacts. The exhibition at Hill Smith Gallery is a step beyond the project-based work. “I am conscious that it is a gallery, that is a little bit different to all the stuff I have done. It’s something I have given a lot of thought to,” he explains. Borgas’ background is actually in graphic design and that is evident in his practice today. A recurring motif in his work is the triangular surface. “I guess the way a pixel is the digital element of a 2D image, in 3D it’s the triangle. That’s the smallest unit used to describe whatever surface, so that’s a motif I use quite a bit.” For Borgas, technology provides an easy way to talk about his work, offering an aesthetic framework not just a conceptual one. “I thought my entry point was through software and digital media and then I started to realise it is literally about analogue and digital and even bigger nature/culture.” Borgas works quite quickly and spontaneously and says that he “needs really short feedback loops to maintain a momentum” – perhaps an influence of his time spent DJing around town. While he works quickly he can also be quite methodical and sets himself laborious tasks like the work 100 Rocks each a gram difference in weight. Borgas’ practice also informs the types of materials he uses. He works a lot with cardboard because it’s quick and cheap and he can pump out works quickly. “I find if I make one thing and spend a long time on it I become really precious about it. I prefer to make a lot of things where it becomes almost like a new, raw material.” Borgas doesn’t necessarily think his work will last forever. In fact some of the cubes on display at Port Adelaide for FELTmaps were stolen or smashed up but he doesn’t mind. “In the other FELTspace show earlier in the year I had 200 green striped boxes and the whole idea was for people to get amongst it and do what they liked in there, so it sort of extends from that idea.” In the exhibition at Hill Smith Gallery audiences can expect to see some of Borgas’ 2D drawings, which he says have always been there but just hidden in the sculpture. “It’s still based on the triangulation stuff. Rather than being just ink on paper, I like to make the drawings an object so I think that will be in how I frame them.” Tom Borgas: Postdigital Fragments Hill Smith Gallery Thursday, May 8 to Saturday, May 24

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